Expectations run high on Belt and Road forum for international cooperation


Zhong Sheng (People’s Daily)

China plans to host a Belt and Road forum for international cooperation in Beijing this May to brainstorm on interconnected development. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent Beijing’s invitation to the whole world while addressing the opening plenary at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The upcoming forum will discuss ways to boost cooperation, build platforms and share cooperation outcomes. The forum will also explore ways to address problems facing global and regional economies, create fresh energy for pursuing inter-connected development and help the Belt and Road initiative deliver greater benefits to people of countries involved.
The Belt and Road initiative has been echoed by over 100 countries and international organizations since it was put forward three years ago. More than 40 have inked cooperation agreements with China on joint construction of the route.
The 71th UN General Assembly for the first time incorporated the Belt and Road initiative into its resolution issued on November 17, 2016 after UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2274, which promotes the initiative, last March.
The decision was endorsed by 193 member states unanimously, which was a showcase of international support for the initiative.
Robert Lawrence Kuhn, Chairman of the US-based Kuhn Foundation, explained the reasons for the popularity. He pointed out that the initiative not only protects the interests of all the mankind, but also serves as an important concept to maintain world stability.
As China’s proposal to achieve coordinated, green and peaceful development, it also brings benefits to other countries along the route, and even plays a significant role in rebalancing the world economy, he added.
In 2015, bilateral trade between China and en-route countries surpassed 1 trillion dollars, with China’s direct investment to those countries totaling nearly 15 billion dollars. At a Belt and Road work symposium held in August 2016, Xi urged China to, by stepping up efforts, score steady progress from the construction of the initiative, in order to benefit the people of all the countries along the route.
Though construction from the initiative has yielded early fruits, the en-route nations also need to broaden the consensus through open discussions against the background of slow recovery of the world economy and the uprising trend of anti-globalization.
The time China chooses for the Belt and Road forum for international cooperation is perfect. On one hand, it aims to cooperate with en-route countries to plan for a better future and materialize the blueprint for the Belt and Road. On the other hand, it targets to build a platform on which each nation can find a coordinated, interconnected, open and win-win cooperation model by facing common challenges.
With the Belt and Road forum for international cooperation to be held in May, it is expected that the initiative will start a new journey and rejuvenate international economic cooperation.